Best Travel Credit Card 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Ever thought about travelling for free? Yes, with the right travel credit card, you can. People use credit cards everywhere, and with a bit of research, you can save money on your travel needs. The best travel credit cards offer air miles when you shop through them.

Air miles or frequent flyer miles are reward points you get to use your card. You pay your bills; you earn points; you shop at a store, you get points in return, and you buy tickets and get reward points. While airlines also have their loyalty program where you get rewards for flying with them, you can get the credit card air miles without even flying.

These points pile up high and can get you a free hotel stay or a flight ticket. But there are lots of options when you have to choose a travel rewards credit card. If you don’t stay careful, you may end up spending more on charges than the rewards you get using them. So, let’s see how to choose credit cards for travel.

What to look for in travel credit cards?

Not all cards are same and not one size suits all. You have, first, to decide how you want to travel. If you prefer a particular flight or stay in your favourite hotel chain, you should get a credit card offered by them. However, if you travel multiple airlines and choose hotels based on value, get a credit card with travel rewards from a bank.

And once you have your decision made, you have to consider the following points to choose the best travel card for you!

Sign-up bonuses

Many cards offer sign-up rewards to start your journey with air miles, and these reward points can range anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000. But don’t pick up a card only because it offers a huge sign-up bonus. They don’t come for free.

Considered one of the best credit cards for travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first four months. The Capital One Venture Card provides the same bonus, but first, find out ways to spend $3,000 in the first three months after signing up.

And if you are a customer of Bank of America, you can get a 20,000 bonus after spending only $1,000 in the first three months with their Travel Rewards Card.

The reward rates

After the sign-in bonus, next thing to look for is the reward that the card offers. While some cards offer points only for flights and hotels, there are others which give points even while shopping. But apart from the number of the reward options available, the reward rates also vary across categories.

The Capital One Venture Card, for example, offers 2x points (or miles) on each dollar spent on your day-to-day activities. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, however, provides 2x points only on travel and dining and 1x for the daily expenses.

Then there is the American Express Platinum Card which gives you 5x points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels. Check NerdWallet’s blog on Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018 to get a detailed analysis of rates and bonuses, and decide which one is made for you.

Annual fees

After you have looked up the reward rates, do check the yearly fees associated with the card you chose. The Platinum Card by American Express – which offers 5x reward points – charges hefty $550 per year. So, unless you are a frequent business traveller, you won’t like seeing a substantial amount spent on charges alone.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card, mentioned earlier, has no annual charges associated with it. Then there are others which have $0 fee for the first year and charge next year onwards. But the ones with premium fees also offer better rewards, facilities like priority boarding, access to executive lounges and many other benefits.

Foreign transaction fees

Credit cards have associated transaction fees, usually at the rate of 3% of your purchase, when you use them overseas. Do check the fine print before you choose your card. Most of the travel rewards cards though are free of any such charges. In his post, Best Credit Cards for Travel Miles 2018, Johnny Jet mentions some of the travel cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Then there are interest rates and points expiry to take into consideration. Yes, there are interests chargeable if you don’t pay on time and the points expire after a certain period. By the way, the points you accrue with a Capital One Venture Card won’t expire for the card’s lifetime. And if you wonder how much are the air miles worth, read the next section.

The value of credit card miles

Choosing the best travel credit card 2018

How much are the miles worth depend on where you use them. A general rule of thumb is 10,000 points equal to $100 of travel tickets. I think, now, you understood the importance of a travel credit card. Then, with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can get 25% extra. That means the 50,000 sign-in bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will translate to $625 instead of $500.

And if you opt for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, the sign-in bonus of 80,000 will get you $1000 worth of travel money. What? But you need to spend $5,000 in the first three months to get that bonus. So, which card should I use?

How to find the best travel credit card?

Now that you know what to look for in travel reward cards, head over to a comparison website. There are sites like LowestRates.ca which allow you to compare travel rewards credit cards for free. It has cards from all the major providers in Canadainfo-icon for you to compare. And you can narrow down your choices according to the rewards, interest rates, annual fees and other filters available.


So, what are you waiting for? You know the importance of picking the best travel credit card for a travel-savvy experience, and you know how to choose one. Then why not take a travel rewards credit card today and start saving money to travel more? Get it before they change their terms and conditions. The clock’s ticking.

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

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